Russia, Saudi Arabia differ on Assad's fate

Moscow and Riyadh have some differences about the Syria settlement process, including the fate of incumbent Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

Moscow and Riyadh have some differences about the Syria settlement process, including the fate of incumbent Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

"Our principled approaches to the resolution of the [Syria] crisis coincide but we also have some differences. One of them is the fate of President al-Assad," he said at a press conference after negotiations with Saudi Foreign Minister Adil al-Ahmad al-Jubayr.

In turn, al-Jubayr said he had discussed a broad range of issues at the negotiations with Lavrov.

"There are similarities in our viewpoints on essential matters and problems yet some views differ, and we are hopeful to reconcile our approaches at consequent meetings and negotiations," he said.

In his turn, Saudi Foreign Minister Adil al-Ahmad al-Jubayr said, Riyadh unwaveringly calls for resignation of Bashar al-Assad. "The standpoint of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the Syria crisis is unchanged; it is based on the provisions of the first Geneva communique and maintains that there is no place for incumbent President al-Assad in the future of Syria," he said at a press conference in Moscow.

"We have emphasized the need to preserve governmental and military structures after al-Assad [is gone], and I would like to stress that any stove piping to the global media about the allegedly changed position of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the Syria crisis have neither firm ground nor reasons," he underlined.

"Mr. Lavrov and I have discussed the need for uniting disconnected Syrian opposition ranks on a peaceful platform so that they accept the concept of the Syria crisis resolution on the basis of the Geneva Communique," the Saudi minister said.

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